Monday, 15 June 2009

Once, in another lifetime

.. I made things from clay.

People often think that those potters who normally make things upon the wheel, can only think in terms of "round".
Not quite so.

A customer was seeking a gift for her daughter and son-in-law, on moving into their newly built house. Could I make them a ceramic house with a light inside? Hmm. "Of course.", I say, rashly. Asking for the whereabouts of this house led me to a muddy building site where I photographed, drew, and measured....

Some time later, I made this:

Okay, I confess I couldn't resist adding a few wheel-thrown bits. In the hope, perhaps that they'd then have to buy some big garden pots from me.
It was a success, but a rod for my own back, as lots of other people then wanted their houses to sit for a portrait. And the time involved in making one was huuuuuge.
And of course, the longer it takes, the more there is at risk in drying and firing. Break one and then redo all those hours? Argh!
And the price? Sigh. I was never good at extorting realistic sums, so I'll confess, in terms of hours versus price... I made a loss. No wonder I say I was once a potter.
I really needed a good business manager, a third party who'd do all that distasteful haggling. Toward the end, I had such a creature, a lovely gallery owner who could sell my wares for prices I'd never dreamed possible, but then.... came the change of bank-manager, the taxman's demands, the tripling of the rent........
So instead of making teapots, which I'd have loved to be doing today, I was getting very wet, pumping out industrial buildings after a humongous downpour.
Had to get a wet-vac onto the job....... A BIG one.

(No! I am not in this pic, I'm behind you, and no, it wasn't just a little wetness as you see here, the water was about four inches deep to start with. and stretched some sixty feet behind me. Luckily there was a manhole cover which we could lift to send the flood mostly into the depths of the earth.)
I'd have preferred to be making teapots.

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  1. You made a mistake, my man, in leaving pottery: your work is masterful, and the house incredible!

  2. lovely post about your previous life as a potter, the house is really something and i'm sure you received a pittance compared to the time you spent making it but it's really nice nonetheless. maybe you'd like to start back up again?

  3. You never cease to amaze me! I knew you had a real interest in pottery/ceramics by reading other posts, but didn't know you yourself were making things. The houses are amazing.

  4. I'm whelmed, guys, whelmed to over-ness, as happens so easily when people say kind things.
    Truth be told, I'm trying to find my way back to making, I guess, like I see Gary doing, I like to spend some of my time making serious pieces, and then let myself loose with a smile, and see what happens.
    I spent quite a lot of years doing that, until impending bankruptcy forced me to become a wage slave.

    As they say, "Watch This Space"!


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